Category Archive: Articles

Mixed fortunes for OTE and Telekom Romania

OTE’s pay-TV business reached break-even on a standalone basis last year, while its subsidiary Telekom Romania continued to operate in challenging conditions.

The latest results published by the Greek incumbent show that in its home market OTE TV ended 2015 with a combined total of 446,499 IPTV and satellite subscribers, or 26.3% more than a year earlier.

The increase, coupled with higher ARPU – up 26% in Q4 2015 – helped the pay-TV business reach break-even.

Meanwhile in Romania, Telekom Romania ended 2015 with a combined total of 1,452,499 DTH, IPTV and cable subscribers, or 2.7% more than a year earlier. TV revenues increased by 4% during the year, whole those for fixed voice and internet fell by 17% and 3% respectively.

Telekom Romania is now selling exclusive fully convergent offers in order to raise its customer appeal, reduce churn and improve its competitive position.

The OTE group, which also includes Telekom Albania, had revenues of €3,902.9 million in 2015 (-0.4%) and EBITDA of €1,220.5 million (-11.9%).

Its adjusted net income was €240.3 million (-24.3%).



Japan makes 4K commitment

Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communications says the country is likely to have between 19 and 22 4K channels on air by 2018. Some Japanese broadcasters, notably JSAT’s SkyPerfecTV, are already transmitting UHD programming.

The Ministry says that these 4K channels are a precursor to the even higher quality 8K ‘Super Hi Vision’ broadcasts already being tested, and with one 8K channel planned for 2018 ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

This year’s upcoming Rio Olympics will not be carrying 4K transmissions but there will be an 8K channel beamed to Tokyo on an experimental basis.

At the moment, the Ministry intends that Japanese public service broadcaster, NHK, will operate one 4KTV and one 8KTV channel. The remaining 18-21 4K channels will be operated by various commercial broadcasters, including both free-to-air channels and pay channels.
The Ministry has invited public and industry comments, and will then make a further statement. However, this autumn it is reported that broadcasters will have to make a firm commitment as to their 4K plans and whether they will be applying to offer a 4K channel for 2018 – or otherwise.

The upcoming MIPTV programming market in Cannes (April 4th – 7th) will have dedicated 4K sessions (from NHK, SkyPerfecTV and other broadcasters and programme makers) on Ultra-HD’s progress.


Enex upgrades its complete workflow to HD

In Q1 2015, Enex contracted BCE to create a new fully HD technical infrastructure, together with a customised Media Asset Management, Editorial and Playout platform that would meet the growing needs of the global news provider.. The new system was launched officially on 14th January 2016 after a soft launch at the end of 2015.

The heart of the new platform is an advanced News Media Asset Management (MAM). Completely developed by BCE, the MAM features library management tools and advanced automation and is combined with the editorial platform (NRCS) and the playout platform under one common user interface.

The intuitive graphic user interface is tailor-made for editorial and technical staff, displaying clear information flows while allowing for the publishing of news items in a few clicks. It is solely web based and can be accessed by all Enex staff in the 3 continents that the organisation operates offices currently.

The production environment also comes with an integrated editing tool with basic features to edit videos, add text, comments etc.

The solution is built around a central storage system from Harmonic, where all the content is recorded and stored. All the production tasks such as content reviewing and editing are done directly on the storage system.

Two types of servers are used for the playout. Harmonic Spectrum servers are used for content recording with channel ports for advanced playout. Loop playout and announcements are made available by the BCE in house developed playout server “D.Playout”.

The media processing is controlled through the News MAM. By using Telestream Vantage as the core transcoding and workflow engine, Enex technical staff is now able to easily define tailor-made workflows to respond to specific requests of Enex partners. Vantage is combined with open source transcoding software in a transcoding farm – a solution that was proposed and developed by BCE in order to enhance cost efficiency and provide scalability for the future.

All the video and editorial metadata exchange between newsrooms of Enex partners is based on the BCE Newslink solution while FTP and other transfer technologies are also supported. Satellite bookings and recordings scheduling is done in ScheduALL, which was also upgraded as part of the project. BCE automation, Au2System, enables the use of ScheduAll as an ingest management system and orchestrates communication between it and the News MAM in order to automate the baseband ingest process.

Christos Schizas, Deputy Managing Director of Enex noted the following: “This project represents the most important investment decision in the recent history of Enex and required a long investigation period and deep discussions with our key members. We are very happy to have opted for the BCE proposal and excited with the final result.

What has started as a purely technical upgrade from SD to HD has resulted in developing an innovative media management and editorial platform. It is the platform that automates a large part of our daily work and lets our staff focus on value and service for our members.

Terence Jarosz (Enex), Léa Krieger (BCE), Sven Weisen (BCE), Julian Neundorf (BCE), Tobias Matzat (BCE), Daniel Resslinger (BCE), Sascha Quillet, Steve Heiles (BCE), Christos Schizas (Enex).

At the same time it a solid base that provides enormous flexibility for the future and can grow with Enex. Finally by combining industry best practices, open source software and BCE custom solutions; we have managed to keep the overall investment at low levels, in line with the frugal nature of our organization.”

via @videomageu



Harmonic Announces Binding Offer to Acquire Thomson Video Networks

Harmonic announced it has signed a binding offer to acquire Thomson Video Networks, a global leader in advanced video compression solutions (“TVN”). Under the terms of the offer which is in the form of a “put” option agreement, subject to the selling shareholders exercising the put option following a consultation process with TVN’s employee works council in France, Harmonic would acquire all of TVN for approximately $75 million in cash plus up to $15 million in post-closing adjustments.

The combined company would establish Harmonic with clear market share leadership in video infrastructure for the world’s leading content and service providers, powered by the industry’s largest video-focused R&D, service and support teams.

“This combination of Harmonic and TVN will, if completed, set the bar for video innovation globally,” said Patrick Harshman, President and CEO of Harmonic. “The combined product portfolios, R&D teams and global sales and service personnel would allow us to accelerate innovation for our customers while leveraging greater scale to drive operational efficiencies. At a time of great change for video content and service providers, the proposed transaction would improve Harmonic’s position as an exceptionally reliable source of innovative video technology that enables delivery and monetization of amazing new video experiences for the consumer.”

Headquartered in Rennes, France, TVN’s regional strength in APAC, EMEA and LATAM would further enhance Harmonic’s global footprint. With less than 50% customer overlap between the companies, TVN’s content and service provider relationships are expected to open significant opportunities for the joint portfolio of solutions.

The products and solutions of the two companies are deployed with over 5,000 content and service provider customers in over 100 countries globally. The combined company would have a video-focused global R&D organization of more than 600 engineers, a global service organization of more than 300 professionals and a network of over 300 channel partners.

For fiscal 2014, TVN reported revenue of EUR 71 million, as presented in TVN’s audited financial statements prepared in accordance with French GAAP.

The proposed transaction is anticipated to be accretive to Harmonic’s non-GAAP net income in the first year after closing, exclusive of the amortization of intangibles and non-recurring charges.

Following the works council consultation process and the exercise of the put option by the selling shareholders, the parties would immediately execute a sale and purchase agreement and the proposed transaction would be expected to close in Q1 2016, subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Harmonic was advised on the proposed acquisition by LD&A Jupiter.

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